Vigilance: the experience of parents staying at the bedside of hospitalized children

Sarah K Dudley, Jeanine M Carr
Journal of Pediatric Nursing 2004, 19 (4): 267-75
Although the incorporation of a family-centered model of care delivery and open visitation policies have supported parents at the bedside of hospitalized children, little research has been conducted exploring the daily experience of vigilant parents. The purpose of this qualitative ethnographic study was to explore the experience of vigilance and specifically to examine the meaning, patterns, and day-to-day rhythms of parents who stay at the bedside of their hospitalized children. Ten parents of hospitalized children on a general pediatric unit were purposively selected to participate in the study. Qualitative data analysis supported the themes generated by previous studies of vigilance: commitment to care, resilience, emotional upheaval, dynamic nexus, and transition (Carr & Clarke, 1997; Carr & Fogarty, 1999). The knowledge generated from this study helps to support the theoretical understanding of vigilance and enhances the ability of health care providers to provide care that is congruent with the needs of parents and their children.


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